AN entrepreneur looking to buy Gigg Lane for a new Bury FC has outlined his intentions for the future of the Shakers.

Robert Benwell’s name came to light with the formation of a company called Bury AFC, of which supporters’ trust Forever Bury initially took up a 10 per cent share.

The decision caused some controversy and is now being put to members, Benwell set to attend an open meeting in the Elizabethan Suite at Bury Town Hall on December 19 to further outline his plans and answer questions.

The 35-year-old from Barnsley has confirmed he is working on a plan to buy Gigg Lane either when the Shakers are liquidated, the club back in the High Court on December 18, or by way of repossession with talks ongoing with Capital Bridge Financing who hold the mortgage over the ground.

It would be the home of a new club that Benwell insists would be predominantly fan-owned.

“I, together with more than 10 other parties have looked at the current financial status of Bury Football Club Ltd and have come to the conclusion that in its current form, the debt and web of legal issues make any solvent bid not feasible,” he said in a statement released through Forever Bury.

“Gigg Lane is crucial for the financial viability and long-term future of any restructured club.

“If it isn’t secured in a timely manner, then it may well be lost forever.

“This should not happen. For these reasons I’ve spent months negotiating with the mortgage holder of Gigg Lane, working out a deal and agreeing the details in readiness should Bury Football Club Ltd be placed into liquidation.

“Failing liquidation, I will be looking to work with the mortgage holder to repossess Gigg Lane and take it out of the control of (current owner) Steve Dale.

“I have also prepared a corporate structure that secures Gigg Lane in Trust, separate from a reformed club.”

Giving detail on his plan for the future ownership structure, the prospective investor believes every step should be taken to avoid a repeat of the events of the last few months, Benwell saying he has sought the advice of not only Forever Bury but also past directors and administrators of the club, involved before the ownership of Dale and Stewart Day.

“I have agreed to donate a 10% non-dilutable share of the reformed club to Forever Bury on behalf of the supporters,” he said in his 1,300 word address to fans.

“I have also outlined to Forever Bury my strategy to have the club majority owned by the fans, by diluting the initial investors’ shares over a number of years to no more than 32 per cent.

“This will be done by fans, local businesses and investors being able to buy shares in the club at a set time each year.

“Funds raised in this way will be put into the club to provide investment as well as create an investment friendly business model where no one individual has overall control.

“It would be hoped that such investment would help the club progress up the leagues, develop new training facilities for both men’s and ladies’ teams, set up an academy and promote the club within the community, but most importantly assist in the long term aim of providing a debt free sustainable football club.”

His proposals come at a time when a group of fans are progressing with their plans for a phoenix club, while other parties also look to get involved with the club in what is an increasingly complicated picture.

Benwell finished his statement to supporters by calling for unity.

“I am aware other parties are attempting to take possession of the club by adopting a different approach,” he said.

“I fully support any party trying to save the current club and have reached out offering my assistance.

“I have also made attempts to have a dialogue with the phoenix group who are working toward forming a new club away from Gigg Lane.

“With respect, I would like to ask the phoenix group not to disrupt the progress that has been made so far and allow supporters to judge for themselves whether they wish to support the vision I have outlined.

“I urge them again to combine our efforts and work toward securing football at Gigg Lane once again, on the basis of creating an investment friendly fan owned club for the future.

“Should their support require a position on the club’s board, then such a move is entirely possible.

“The bottom line is that we need to unite and work together, only then will we be able to celebrate together in the future.”